Pros / It has a full array of outlets to accommodate almost all your power needs.
Cons / Its low surge wattage capacity is cause for concern for motor startups.
Verdict / Its range of features and efficiency makes it a solid choice for a mid-range portable generator.
The Yamaha EF5500DE is a fuel-efficient and reliable portable generator with comprehensive safety and control panel features that can handle an emergency power outage as well as powering a construction site.
A flaw with the EF5500DE is the low surge power rating. The running power is 4,500 watts, but it can only handle an extra 1,000 watts for surges, which occur when appliances with electric motors start up. Electric motors often require two to four times as much wattage at startup as when they're operating. For example, a 500-watt appliance could require 1,000 to 2,000 watts at startup. For comparison, the best portable generator has a surge increase of 2,000 watts. The average surge increase is 1,250 watts.
The best safety feature is the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection for the outlets. GFCI is a type of circuit breaker that measures the alternating current going back and forth between the generator and the powered appliances. If the returning current diminishes, that means the current has found an alternate path to the earth, which puts you at risk for electrocution. When this occurs, the GFCI shuts off the power.
Another good safety feature is the low-oil shutdown – a sensor that shuts down the engine when the oil levels are too low. It's important because it saves the generator from damage, so you'll still have a reliable source of power during an outage.
The operating noise is 74.1 dB, which is average. It's not overwhelmingly loud, but it's also not so quiet that you can carry conversations near it. For comparison, the best gas generators operate at 71 dB, which is about the volume of a vacuum. The inverter generators in the Yamaha EF series are much quieter, but that convenience comes at a much higher price.
This Yamaha generator has comprehensive control panel features. It has four household outlets and two 120/240-volt outlets, though only one is a twist-locking outlet. It has a voltage selector switch that allows you to isolate the required voltage for your use. For example, if you're only using the household outlets, you can switch the generator to 120 volts only. This produces a more accurate electrical current that's less likely to damage your appliances.
The Yamaha EF5500DE generator is among the best portable generators because it provides efficient and reliable power to your essential appliances. With a running time of 9 hours, it burns fuel very efficiently while also producing clean power, even though the additional surge power is less than that of most generators.